Back to ABC 7: Roeper joins ‘Windy City Live’ as movie critic

Four years after he signed off as host of the syndicated At the Movies, Richard Roeper is returning to Walt Disney Co. as movie critic for ABC 7’s Windy City Live.

Starting September 21, the veteran Sun-Times columnist will deliver weekly movie reviews for the program, which airs at 9am Monday through Friday (with repeats at 12:07am). The live, local talk show, hosted by Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini, has led in the ratings since it replaced The Oprah Winfrey Show in May 2011.

“We are thrilled to have one of the top movie critics in the country join our show and help expand our entertainment coverage,” said executive producer Marlaine Selip. “Richard brings with him a wealth of film experience and although he has garnered a national reputation, he is a Chicagoan through and through.”

With the addition of Roeper, Windy City Live will shift its current movie-reviewing team to other duties. Paige Wiser, former TV critic at the Sun-Times, will cover the TV beat for the show and focus on freelance writing and blogging. David Plummer, who worked with Roeper as executive producer of At the Movies, will contribute reviews of DVD, online and on-demand releases.

Roeper said he was excited to join the team. “Windy City Live has a great local vibe but it also has the production values of a national show,” he told me. “Ryan and Val have a terrific connection with the viewers. Each time I've been on as a guest, I was impressed by the entire production team and of course the on-air talent. The energy in that studio is great.”

Another regular contributor to the show is Roe Conn, who also hosts afternoons with Roeper on WLS-AM (890), the Cumulus Media news/talk station that shares facilities with ABC 7 at 190 North State Street.

Roeper previously spent eight years under studio lights there, first as Roger Ebert’s partner on Ebert & Roeper and later with a variety of co-hosts on At the Movies, both syndicated by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. During that time, Roeper also appeared frequently on other ABC-owned stations, including KABC-TV in Los Angeles, where he co-hosted annual Academy Awards specials.

After declining a contract renewal, Roeper left the company in 2008. (At the Movies was canceled in 2010.) He currently reviews movies for Reelz Channel and

Meanwhile, Roeper also was tapped this week to host the 54th annual Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards, sponsored by the regional chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The gala will be November 18 at Alhambra Palace, 1240 West Randolph Street.

Roeper last hosted the local Emmy ceremony in 2001, winning high marks for emceeing the no-frills event just six weeks after the 9/11 attacks. Wrote one critic: “[Roeper] did a
superb job of moving the proceedings along and chiding some of the insufferably 
long-winded winners.”


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